Japanese fishermen capture dolphins ahead of slaughter

January 18, 2014
Anti-dolphin slaughter protesters at a rally in front of the Japanese embassy in Manila on September 2, 2013

Fishermen and divers caught at least 25 dolphins in a controversial Japanese fishing village Saturday, according to environmentalists, who said the process was captive selection ahead of a mass slaughter.

Activists from the militant environmental group Sea Shepherd streamed live footage of the dolphin capture in the village of Taiji, which drew worldwide attention in 2010 when it became the subject of the Academy Award-winning documentary "The Cove", a hard-hitting film about the annual dolphin .

Every year the fishermen of Taiji corral hundreds of dolphins into a secluded bay, select a few dozen for sale to aquariums and marine parks, and stab the rest to death for meat.

The town's fishermen defend the hunt as a cultural tradition, and "The Cove" was met by protests from right-wing activists when it was screened in Japan in 2010.

Sea Shepherd said Saturday that at least 25 were taken away from their pods for possible sale to aquariums, and that the selection is likely to continue Sunday.

"Those taken captive are forced to watch as the remaining members of their family are brutally killed for human consumption," the environmentalist group said in a statement.

The slaughter had not begun by the time the selection process ended Saturday afternoon, and it was unclear when it would.

Two aquarium trainers are pushed out of the water by dolphins during a summer attraction at the Aqua Stadium in Tokyo on August 27, 2012

The Taiji Fisheries Cooperative Association, which is in charge of the dolphin hunt, was not immediately available for comment.

Explore further: Activists rally in Tokyo against Japan's dolphin hunt

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